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Here’s Why #HaqSeHindustan Was The Most Inclusive Concert Mumbai Ever Witnessed

The show brought together a diverse lineup, put the spotlight on women in hip-hop, offered affordable tickets and more

Rolling Stone India Nov 27, 2019

Graffiti by Zake at #HaqSeHindustan

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#HaqSeHindustan concert was an effort to showcase how multicultural and binding hip-hop can be, especially in a country as diverse as India. Here are 9 ways in which this reflected at the gig:

1. The diverse artist lineup at #HaqSeHindustan cut across age, language and regions

Swadesi and Bandish Projekt during their Hindustan set

The youngest rappers and breakers were 9-year-olds from Mumbai’s The Dharavi Dream Project (TDDP) who broke out a dynamic and powerful set at #HaqSeHindustan while the audience consisted of tiny tots, teens, your average cool millennial and seasoned listeners well into their 60s. The crowd turned out in their own versions of eclectic, colorful, vibrant and funky outfits, representing their own takes on street style and hip-hop. Fans also flew in from cities across the country — Bengaluru, Shillong, New Delhi, Pune, Kolkata and more — to see their favorite acts. #HaqSeHindustan was truly a place for everyone. 

2. The audience comprised parents, students, grandparents, gig regulars

Comedian Abish Mathew at #HaqSeHindustan

#HaqSeHindustan witnessed students, parents, kids, working and industry professionals pour in to catch their favorite rappers, breakers and DJ/Producers in action but it also received overwhelming support from the arts community. From TikTokers Mr. Faisu, Adnaan Shaikh, Hasnain Khan, Faiz Baloch and more to musician Sidd Coutto, singer-songwriters Mohit Mukhi and Aarifah Rebello and YouTuber and singer Ritu Agarwal to comedians Abish Mathew, Srishti Dixit and Shayan Roy, Bollywood composer Salim Merchant and veteran actor Denzil Smith, everyone came out to groove to the stellar acts.

Bollywood singer and composer Salim Merchant at #HaqSeHindustan

3. Celebrating the different genres within hip-hop 

Khasi Bloodz during their #HaqSeHindustan set

All hip-hop may not be one but hip-hop is for all and that’s exactly what the lineup proved at #HaqSeHindustan. Shillong rap duo Khasi Bloodz infused their rap with rock, Chandigarh/Goa rapper MC Manmeet Kaur played with dub and reggae during her chill-hop set, Mumbai’s Swadesi and Ahmedabad’s Bandish Projekt mixed electronica with folk and hard bass and New Delhi’s Prabh Deep brought his jazz infused melodic hip-hop to the gig. The boundaries of genres continued to blur as each act took to stage at the concert.

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4. The women of hip-hop owned the stage 

MC Manmeet Kaur during her #HaqSeHindustan set

#HaqSeHindustan saw the best of female the country’s hip-hop acts take to stage, proving once and for all that the genre isn’t going to remain a boys club. Bbx Sadhana Tawde set the tone for TDDP’s set and the evening ahead with her powerful beats. She was joined by breakers Nishita Makwana aka b-girl Nish and Nisha Gajakosh aka b-girl Nisha. MC Manmeet Kaur showcased her limitless chill-hop and even brought out b-girl Ambarin Kadri aka Am-B, founder of Mumbai breaker group Roc Fresh Crew, whose fluid breaking brought the set to life in movement. Kannada rapper Gubbi had rapper-singer Madhura Gowda aka MG join him for his set. TDDP’s MC Siddu, MC YoungLord and MC John also performed the “Haq Se Anthem” which was a rallying cry for women’s rights. The crews of organisers Rolling Stone India and Qyuki Digital Media also boasted women in leadership, editorial, design, production, social media and videography positions. Women ran that show.

5. From graffiti to beatboxing — all the elements of hip-hop shone bright

The Dharavi Dream Project’s breakers at #HaqSeHindustan

#HaqSeHindustan rapped the five elements of hip-hop — graffiti, rapping, DJing, beatboxing and breaking. Gig-goers were greeted by the bright and aesthetic mural designed by Mumbai artist Zake and The Dharavi Dream Project (both showcasing their on takes on #HaqSeHipHop). The lineup consisted of rappers accompanied by DJs and producers (DJ Glock, DJ Knack, DJ Nash, DJ Panic, Bandish Projekt and more) breakers and beatboxers, creating an environment where the audience could truly indulge in the essence of hip-hip and experience its elements throughout the gig. The dancing wasn’t only limited to the stage as breakers broke out their steps amongst the crowd during artist sets too.

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6. The biggest multi-lingual gig in town — hip-hop in 9 languages!

Rapper Gubbi was joined by rapper/singer MG at #HaqSeHindustan

Tamil, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Punjabi, English, Gujarati, Khasi — #HaqSeHindustan’s premiere edition was a nationwide showcase across nine languages with multilingual and regional crews performing powerful sets. Whether it was Swadesi performing to the roar of the crowd with their Marathi revolt song “The Warli Revolt,” Gubbi belting bars in Kannada during “Yelli Maga Gubbi” or Dopeadelicz rapping in Tamil while debuting their latest single “Wake Up” in front of a live audience, the event brought together acts and audiences across languages and regions. 

7. Affordable ticket prices ensured all could attend

It was a full house inside Studio 2 too

Concerts tend to be prohibitive for a lot of people because of ticket prices. But at #HaqSeHindustan, there was a concerted effort to make sure this concert was inclusive. The early bird tickets were priced at Rs. 299 while the #HaqSe contest, too, was held on social media to award winners with free passes to the event.

8. Haq Se Cypher

Bbx Beatshady, rapper D Abdul, bbx Ecko and TikToker Adnaan Shaikh during the #HaqSeHindustan cypher

#HaqSeHindustan came to a close with the all-star cypher where artists from the lineup as well performers in the audience joined in to engage in a rap battle. The young rappers from TDDP brought their spitfire verses and unrelenting energy to the stage. The cypher also witnessed a TikTok meets hip-hop moment when TikToker Adnaan Shaikh and his brother Mumbai rapper D Abdul rapped together on stage. 

9. The variety of showmanship — from crowdsurfing to crowdsplitting

Rapper Prabh Deep during his #HaqSeHindustan set

In terms of stage histrionics, #HaqSeHindustan delivered. Whether it was showmanship, artists taking a stage dive and crowdsurfing, splitting the crowd to create a wall of death or jumping on top of the amplifier and spraying water at the crowd, there was never a dull moment at the gig with rappers 100 RBH, Prabh Deep and more engaging with the audience in creative ways.

#HaqSeHindustan was a concert organized by Rolling Stone India and Qyuki Digital Media, as a part of #HaqSeHipHop — a  multi-platform initiative to give back to the hip-hop ecosystem in India.

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